The Most Important Steps to Take Before You Publish Your Book
Episode #2 of the course How to begin (and maintain) your career as a writer by John Robin
Welcome back to the course!
Now that we’ve talked about expectations, let’s talk about the next step: how to put out the best book possible.
There are five considerations:
• Write a great book
• Get your book edited
• Get it proofread
• Write a dynamite blurb
• Hire a great cover designer
Write a Great Book
What does it mean to write a great book? How do you know the book you’re writing is going to be enjoyed by readers?
These are the first questions you need to ask when you’re writing your first book. While there will never be a guarantee that the book you’re writing will be a hit, you can do three things to improve your chances:
1. Write the stories you are most passionate about.
2. Write the kind of stories you understand as a reader.
3. Get to know what other readers of the kind of book you’re writing enjoy about this kind of book.
You can go beyond this. Take courses in writing and join a critique group. This helps you get critical feedback on your work and professional perspective on what makes a well-written book. You can also learn to self-edit so that the book you deliver for editing is already great (editing will only make it even greater).
Editing, Proofreading, Blurb, and Cover Design
If you’re traditionally published, editing, proofreading, blurb, and cover design will be provided for you, but if you’re self-publishing, then you’ll need to provide these yourself. It’s absolutely critical you don’t skimp on these four steps!
Editing. Once you have written the best book possible and it’s time for publication, the first and most important next step is editing.
Be careful when hiring an editor. There are many editing scams waiting for unexpecting authors. You can safeguard yourself by searching a prospective editor on Preditors and Editors.
Finding a good editor is hard. Usually, the best practice is to ask other self-published writers you admire who their editor is. Even so, the editor might not be a good fit for you. A tip is to ask for a sample edit on 10-20 pages of your book before hiring them.
Proofreading. This step is also critical. After editing, you’ll want to hire a fresh set of eyes to go over your final book and check for typos. Why doesn’t your editor catch them all? Because their attention will be on other critical aspects of storytelling and sentence presentation, and you’ll be rewriting a lot, which means typos will crop up after edits are done. A proofreader catches all that so you’re not embarrassed when publication day comes.
Blurb. Also called “back of book copy,” your blurb is your back of book description. You can write this yourself, but you’d be best off hiring a good copywriter. If you are going to do it yourself, be sure to study the way blurbs are written on the back of books similar to yours.
Cover design. You’ll also want an amazing book cover. This step is as important as editing. Your book cover is your first point of sale. It’s what catches someone’s attention when they are browsing and makes them pick your book up.
Find a good cover designer the same way you find an editor: approach self-publishing authors you admire and ask who their cover artist is. Go to the cover artist’s website and be sure to check out their portfolio to make sure their style is a good fit.
Once you’re published, you’re in the spotlight and you don’t want to have any blemishes that get in the way of your marketing steam, so go the extra mile with making your book amazing.
So, you’re ready to go with a great book. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to connect with readers as you prepare to launch your author career.
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